Fourteen players handed lifetime bans by the El Salvadorian federation will not be able to play anywhere, after FIFA upheld the sanctions worldwide on Monday. The two players who received reduced suspensions also had their punishments extended across the globe.
“FIFA can today confirm the worldwide extension of sanctions imposed on a number of El Salvador players relating to match-manipulation investigations conducted by the El Salvador Football Association,” FIFA said in its press release. “FIFA continues to work closely with its member associations and the confederations to tackle match manipulation.”
National team friendly losses to D.C. United and the United States in 2010, a 5-0 loss to Mexico in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup and a 3-0 away loss to Paraguay on Feb. 6, 2013 are the three games whose results are in question.
FIFA only extended the sanctions on those 16 players, not the others who were charged on Thursday as new evidence came to light after the initial investigation. Rodrigo Martínez was suspended for five years, star forward Rodolfo Zelaya for one year and goalkeeper Benji Villalobos for six months.
Zelaya was a bright spot for El Salvador in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he scored four goals, including his team’s only strike in a 5-1 loss to the United States in the quarterfinals. He has drawn interest from multiple clubs abroad in recent years after an extended run of good form for La Selecta.
It will be up to FIFA to extend El Salvador’s sanctions on Martínez, Zelaya and Villalobos worldwide, as it did with the other 16 players indicted on match-fixing charges.